Shivan Parusnath – National Geographic Society Newsroom
Shivan Parusnath is a Ph.D. student at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, where he researches the population genetics of the sungazer (Smaug giganteus), a threatened lizard species. He has been working on this rare and charismatic lizard since 2011, and the findings from his master’s research on the conservation status of the sungazer have led to important changes to the national legislature on trading the species, and helped create a network of safe habitats for sungazer populations. His work on sungazers led him to research the illegal reptile trade in South Africa, and how it affects wild populations. Shivan is also a keen photographer. His goal is to link his passions for reptiles and photography through investigative photography and videography to shed light on the illegal reptile trade in South Africa. Shivan is a 2014 National Geographic Young Explorer grantee and is part of the 2017 Young Explorer Leadership and Development Program.